cover image Eutopia


David Nickle. ChiZine (Diamond, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (330p) ISBN 978-1-926851-11-2

Nickle's bleak debut novel mixes utopian vision, rustic Americana, and pure creepiness. It's 1911 and the future is bright in remote Eliada, Idaho, with its thriving timber business and a free hospital funded by forward-thinking philanthropist Garrison Harper. But Harper and Dr. Nils Bergstrom are disciples of eugenicist Charles Davenport, and their plan to create "a paradise for workers and owners alike" is anything but healthy. The evidence lies within bizarrely made Mister Juke, who heralds the imminent "perfectibility of mankind." Black doctor Andrew Waggoner, whose outsider status and Hippocratic oath make him unwilling to cooperate, and Jason Thistledown, lone survivor of an engineered plague that destroyed Cracked Wheel, Mont., are Eliada's only hope as Mister Juke's alien tribe begins to make terrible plans of its own. Nickle (Monstrous Affections) blends Little House on the Prairie with distillates of Rosemary's Baby and The X-Files to create a chilling survival-of-the-fittest story. (May)